How to plant burdock

Arctium lappa

Burdock, also known as gobô (from the Japanese name of this plant, ゴ ボ ウ), is native to Europe and Asia, and can exceed 2 m in height. Its roots can reach 1 m in length and about 2 cm in width, and can be eaten raw when very young or cooked when more developed. Its roots are highly appreciated in Japanese cuisine and are becoming popular in the macrobiotic diet due to the fact that they are rich in inulin, a polysaccharide of fructose sugar. Although less used, young leaves, their stems and the immature stems of inflorescences can be eaten raw or cooked. This plant is also well known for its medicinal properties.


Burdock grows well in places with a mild climate. Ideally, the temperature remains between 10 ° C and 25 ° C, although the plant can withstand low temperatures during the winter (the aerial part can die, but the root normally withstands low temperatures).


This plant can be grown in direct sunlight or in partial shade.


Cultivate preferably in light, deep, well-drained, fertile and rich in organic matter. This plant tolerates a pH of the soil in the range of 4.6 to 7.8, being ideal a pH between 6.6 and 7.5.


Irrigate to keep the soil moist, but not soaked.


Planting can be done in autumn and spring in temperate regions. In regions with subtropical climate, sow in autumn.

Sowing should preferably be done at the final location, as burdock seedlings do not support the transplant well. If sown in seed, transplant as soon as possible, before the main root begins to develop. Sowing can be superficial, just covering the seeds with a light layer of sieved soil or sawdust.

The recommended distance between the plants varies depending on the use to be made of the plant. For an early harvest of the roots, it is recommended to plant with a distance of approximately 15 cm between the plants, which can provide straighter roots. For other purposes, leave a distance of at least 60 cm between the plants.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources.

Burdock can become an invader. To prevent the plant from spreading spontaneously, do not allow the plant to flower.


Harvesting burdock or gobot roots can be done after 10 weeks of cultivation under ideal conditions, but these can be left growing in the soil for longer. However, roots of plants older than one year can become fibrous and are no longer palatable.

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